If you’ve spent any amount of time on Twitter today, you’ve probably caught wind of this discourse. Earlier today PlayStation Japan shared their latest PS4 Lineup Video; if you’ve been following our site for any amount of time, you’d know that’s usually something we share with praise. This time, however, isn’t looking too good for Sony, though it’s questionable just how much blame can be placed on them. The latest CM, which finds itself splicing between gorgeously animated cuts, video games, and the musical works of Tanaka (Boku no Lyric no Bou Yomi), is all-together a brilliant piece, and it’s a shame I can’t just be talking about that in this piece.
Surfaced earlier today, comparisons were rapidly being shared in online spaces following an initial post from Cartoon Network’s OK K.O.! creator Ian Jones-Quartey noting that the CM seemingly swiped animation cuts from the recently-released Steven Universe movie. The post states that the work “looks to be more of a direct trace than an homage”. When compared side-by-side, it’s pretty damning, especially with the near-identical fluidity of movement presented in the PlayStation CM to Japanese animator Takafumi Hori’s work on Steven Universe‘s movie. But it didn’t stop there; at this point, the PlayStation 4 Lineup video was under the scope of creatives from all over the globe, and with that came several more revelations.
Latest Sony PS4 Lineup Music Video is a rip of many animations from all around the world ……
(Steven Universe, FLCL, Gobelins, Souviens Ten-Zan …).
The video is now offline : https://t.co/LPWyFWzEEw
But you can still find it online : https://t.co/KfS79oRrs5 pic.twitter.com/6Q0hrFK2AT
— Catsuka (@catsuka) December 4, 2019
PlayStation Japan is in hot water following allegations from numerous external sources of animation theft in their latest CM.
Highlighted by Catsuka over on Twitter, the CM seemingly directly takes cuts from eight different scenes from several different animated works. Included in this is, not only major productions such as the Steven Universe film and FLCL but also animation student’s original works too. Compiled all together in the embedded tweet above, I’d reiterate that things are looking pretty damning for Sony at this point.
But let’s go back to that point I made earlier — just how much of the blame can be placed on Sony for this one? While at the time of writing there have been no official statements from PlayStation Japan on the matter, the video has silently been taken off their YouTube channel – though it’s still available via re-uploads – and the director of the CM Kevin Bao has seemingly scrubbed himself from the internet. There’s a very strong possibility that the PlayStation Japan team had little-to-no idea that the alleged plagiarism was taking place, and is in the process of gathering all the facts and information before making a public statement. Obviously it’s disappointing that Sony provided a platform for this to be done, but when working with independent creators, likely under freelance contracts, it’s unlikely that they would have provided the green light if in the know that this was being done.
So while it’s incredibly wrong that Kevin Bao has allegedly done such blatant theft of art, it’s also worth noting that the affected reaches beyond the multi-billion dollar Sony corporation, but also hit artists such as Tanaka who were brought on to provide the other major part of this CM. Here’s hoping that not only the animators who had been robbed but also those involved who did no wrong see some light after all of this. We’ll be sure to keep you updated as more information is revealed.